Warning from the US: Trump could destroy NATO, and then it would be the turn of Ukraine and the Baltic states

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The article reminds us that Trump has promised to “let Putin do whatever he wants with countries that don’t spend enough money on their defense,” and his second term could have nightmarish consequences for European security.

D. Trump’s allies claim that their leader is just bluffing in order to force European countries to take more care of their defense.

However, some US officials who worked with Trump, including one of the article’s authors (US reservist RD Hooker Jr., served as special assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Intelligence Service from April 2017 to July 2018 in the security council), believes that D. Trump will initiate the US withdrawal from NATO in case of re-election. He is said to have relied on moderate advisers during his first term, but that would not be the case now.

Abandoned Europe and the collapse of Ukraine

If Trump is re-elected and implements his anti-NATO instincts, Ukraine would be the first to fall. Trump has spoken out against additional military aid to Kyiv and continues to praise Russian President Vladimir Putin. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is already trying to protect Ukraine from Trump by coordinating aid under the auspices of the alliance’s non-US-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

If the United States were to weaken or end its defense commitments to Europe under Trump, European countries would feel more vulnerable and may become increasingly reluctant to send vital military supplies to Ukraine.

A sharp cut in aid could force Kyiv to negotiate an unfavorable deal with Moscow that would leave Ukraine as a militarily and economically vulnerable satellite state to Russia. If Ukraine’s defenses completely collapse, approximately 38 million brutal repression and forced Russification await the people.

After Ukraine, it is the turn of the Baltic States

The disastrous consequences would then only begin. A weakened NATO would find it difficult to develop an effective conventional deterrent against further Russian aggression. Russia is currently at war, spending six percent of its GDP on defense, and its authoritarian leader is committed to an ultra-nationalist mission to assert his rule over the so-called “Russian world,” an undefined geographic space that stretches well beyond his country’s internationally recognized borders.

Moscow would be able to rebuild its armed forces relatively quickly. After conquering all of Ukraine, Mr. Putin would likely focus on the Baltic states, NATO members under the alliance’s security umbrella, but which Mr. Putin considers historic Russian lands. If NATO’s conventional deterrent were weakened by the end of US support, Russia would only be more tempted to act more brazenly.

NATO countries now spend a combined two percent of their GDP on defense, but without US support, Europe’s militaries are still not sufficiently prepared, equipped and capable of dealing with a powerful adversary. In several important areas, Europe remains highly dependent on the United States of America. It itself lacks many of the key means of successful defense, including airlift capability, aerial refueling, high-altitude air defense, space assets, and operational intelligence, all of which the United States essentially provides.

Without American help, NATO would lose much of its military advantage over Russia. Europe’s defense industry remains highly fragmented and may need to develop the necessary defense capabilities to compensate for the loss of US support by the end of this decade.

Nuclear umbrella

If the United States were to withdraw from NATO, the weakening of nuclear deterrence would greatly complicate the problem of Europe’s conventional deterrence. Nuclear weapons underpin the United States’ commitment to the defense of its allies, and its nuclear capabilities underpin NATO’s deterrence capabilities.

If Trump were to close the US nuclear umbrella, Europe would have to rely on fewer than 600 British and French strategic nuclear warheads, a fraction of Russia’s total force of more than 5,000 strategic and tactical nuclear warheads.

Since Europe does not have tactical nuclear weapons, it can hope to deter a Russian tactical nuclear attack only by threatening escalation to the strategic level, which Moscow may find implausible. To intimidate Europeans into backing Ukraine, Russia has repeatedly hinted at the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons.

Unlike the United States, France and the United Kingdom have not expanded their nuclear deterrents to protect their allies. If Washington were to leave Europe to fend for itself, Moscow could count on successfully resorting to nuclear blackmail and seizing the territory of NATO member states.

Lack of confidence in US commitments could prompt some NATO partners on other continents to pursue nuclear weapons to offset the nuclear superiority of China and North Korea, undermining the fragile stability that has prevailed in the Asian region for decades. A weakening of U.S. global leadership would also have profound negative consequences in the Middle East, where U.S. forces and U.S.-led coalitions are needed to counter terrorist threats.

NATO exercises in Norway

(26 photos)

NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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NATO exercises in Norway (photo by SCANPIX)

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The largest NATO exercise since the Cold War has angered Russia

The US was already in a similar situation

As a result of such actions of Mr. Trump, the US economy may also suffer. If the failure of deterrence led to an all-out war with Russia or China, the economic costs would be enormous. Only a few Houthi fighters in Yemen have managed to disrupt global shipping with their attacks in the Red Sea. Imagine the consequences of a superpower war.

Also, trade ties often follow security ties. Last year, two-way transatlantic trade in goods exceeded 1.2 trillion US dollars. The US has invested about 4 trillion US dollars in European industry. About five million Americans work in European industries. It is very important for the United States economically that peace prevails in Europe.

The US has already been in a similar situation. Before both world wars, Washington sought neutrality. None of these attempts were successful and only prevented the United States from helping to deter aggressors in those wars. Ultimately, the United States was drawn into both conflicts. After World War II, realizing the dangers of isolationism, the United States deepened its involvement and created the conditions for the establishment of NATO and 75 years of relative peace in Europe.

“The United States must not forget the painful lessons of the last century. In doing so, they would risk weakening US leadership in the world, undermining the international order created by Washington, and creating a safer world for authoritarian rule,” the Foreign Affairs article reads.


The article is in Lithuanian

Tags: Warning Trump destroy NATO turn Ukraine Baltic states

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